Tuesday, May 29, 2012

misadventures in dinosaur land

Last Saturday Kris and I took a day trip out towards the Shenandoah Valley to visit the Blandy experimental Farm/State Arboretum, Dinosaur Land, and Old Town Winchester, Virginia. Our visit to the Arboretum was cut short unfortunately, after Kris, who has an incredible phobia of snakes, saw a warning sign about snakes possibly hiding behind the (many) rocks in the park. That's OK, 'cause I've been there before and spent lots of time drawing and taking photos. Old Town was great too, as I used to live out that way for a couple of years, and we discovered an amazing little book store and Thai restaurant, both of which didn't exist when I lived there eight or so years ago. While the highlight for Kris was probably meeting up with her friend at the Potomac Bead Company, mine was without a doubt, Dinosaur Land. This place is Americana at its best, a massive collection of those big old, sometimes awkward prehistoric beast sculptures you'd find scattered along Route 66. What I love about this place is that you have to enter through the gift shop to get into the actual park itself, which is a giant T-Rex mouth! The gifts are very cool too, as many of them are toys I saw when I was just a boy, and some of which were around when my parents were kids as well. The park itself was really nice too, full of many trees providing lots of cool shade on an otherwise hot, sunny day. The statues were set up well throughout the park , most of them being the classic, disproportionate old-school replicas, while others were more current, anatomically correct models. While the park claims to be an educational experience, I'm sure most people, kids and adults alike go there for pure fun more than anything. There are no motorized parts on the beasts, some of which aren't even dinosaurs, and don't expect any fancy sounds.  That's the very charm and appeal of this place, which takes you back to a time when no humans walked the earth, as well as to a time when folks had a chance to use their own imaginations. This was my second visit to Dinosaur Land, and it was well worth the five dollar admission ticket to be a kid again. 

And of course, I simply had to include the opening song to my favorite childhood show of all time, the original Land of the Lost brought to you by Syd and Marty Krofft. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

greetings from the american visionary art museum, baltimore, maryland

Yesterday Kris and I visited the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.  The last time I was here was probably about five years ago, and one of my first blog posts (for the first incarnation of this particular blog), from 2005, was about this very place.  What is Visionary Art you ask? Here's what the AVAM has to say:  "Like love, you know it when you see it. But here's the longer definition, straight out of our Mission Statement: "Visionary art as defined for the purposes of the American Visionary Art Museum refers to art produced by self-taught individuals, usually without formal training, whose works arise from an innate personal vision that revels foremost in the creative act itself." In short, visionary art begins by listening to the inner voices of the soul, and often may not even be thought of as 'art' by its creator."

The current main exhibit "All Things Round: Galaxies, Eyeballs & Karma",  goes on until September 2, 2012. One of my favorite living artists and fellow Virginians, JJ Cromer has some work in the show, which is also part of the museum's permanent collection. On a side note, he has a great blog which he regularly updates called Old Old Old Virginia.  There are too many other amazing artists whose work is in both the current show and permanent collection to list here, and indoor photography is strictly prohibited. So, definitely make a trip out to see this place, which consists of three buildings and some fantastic surrounding outdoor sculptures. It's both fun and thought-provoking, with something for everyone, from the serious art aficionado to the casual observer, and is certainly a feast for the eyes with lots of visual (and a few audio) surprises. There is very affordable paid parking (which takes credit cards) right behind the museum, and I highly recommend eating at the Mr. Rain's Funhouse museum restaurant, located on the third floor of the main building. Kris and I both got the excellent roasted veggie sandwich , and I opted for a Hawaiian beer (both pictured below).  Looking forward to visiting again someday soon!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

artful greetings from greece

Today I got a real nice surprise in my mailbox from my Greek artist friend Akis Karanos. If you might recall, Akis curated and organized an art exhibit called "For The Absurd Expedition" in Greece last January, which included some of my Splotch Monster art. He also put together an art 'zine as well, which again, included some more Splotch Monster works. So, after patiently waiting, his package finally arrived! I really like the way the 'zine was put together, if you even want to call it a 'zine, which operated more along the lines of a box of art prints. I also like the hand-drawn/painted art on the box as well, and Akis was kind enough to include some extra goodies, including a great, large hand-signed poster print, some exhibit fliers, a 'zine he made, as well as a couple of individual drawings he made, which he traded with me, for some of my own work. I give Akis a ton of credit for putting so much time and energy into all of this in the name of art, as he informed me, times are still tough and quite unstable economically in his homeland. Here's hoping things start looking up soon his way and I look forward to doing more shows his way again in the future. Thanks Akis!!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

splotch monster talk

It's been a long time since I've posted any newer Splotch Monster art up here at the Go Flying Turtle blog, so I thought, while taking a break from some spring cleaning today, I'd do just that. It's been nice doing individual ones this past week (see above), spurred on by this month's local First Friday art night demo. The ones here in particular are all done on 8" x 10" watercolor paper, painted in watercolor and drawn using some Pigma Micron pens, Sharpee drawing pens and some colored gel pens. I'll be tackling a couple more word medleys real soon, which will probably take me up to number 1,000. After that, I won't be assigning any more numbers, as counting will no longer be relevant to me (and has always been kind of a headache anyway). From there, it will only be just the beginning with these Splotch Monsters, and I look forward to trying some new things and experimenting more with them.